A seasoned policeman who ran a construction company is not entitled to a disability pension while performing his duties on the grounds that he has not proven that his back pain was caused by an incident at work, an Illinois appeals court ruled Thursday.
Terry Olson, who had been a police officer for the village of Lombard for 29 years, applied for a special disability pension granted to disabled police officers following an injury sustained in the line of duty, alleging that an injury to The leg suffered during the pursuit of a suspect in 2013 made his back pain, which he had previously sought treatment for, worsen, according to documents in Terry Olson v. The Lombard Police Pension Fund and the village of Lombard, filed in the Illinois Court of Appeals, Second District, in Elgin, Illinois.
The Police Retirement Commission determined, “on a preponderance of evidence,” that Ms. Olson, who also owned a business that carried out excavation and demolition work and had experienced episodes of back pain on three separate occasions. Over the course of several years, his lower back disability was “neither caused nor aggravated by his service activities” during a police chase in 2013, according to documents.
“The Board concluded that the evidence established by the Applicant had a history of complaints and lower back discomfort, but that these problems were not caused or exacerbated by the incident or by an ‘act of duty’,” as necessary to establish entitlement to “the course of action” “duty” of disability benefits, “the documents say. Instead, he received a standard pension.
On appeal, a lower court upheld the board’s decision, stating that there was sufficient evidence to prove Ms Olson’s disability was not related to the work-related event alone. The Court of Appeal said, writing: We find that the Board’s conclusion that the plaintiff failed to discharge his onus of establishing a causal link between his pre-existing condition and a specific act of duty was supported by the record and not by the obvious weight of the evidence. “